Deputations (if any)
To hear any deputations received from members of the public in accordance with Standing Order 32.
NOTED the following deputations received at the meeting:
(a) Dawn Butler MP in support of the Labour Group motion relating to health services in Brent and expressing concern at the proposed reduction in opening hours of the Urgent Care Centre at Central Middlesex Hospital. The concerns raised were supported by Councillor Farah, responding to the deputation as Lead Member for Adult Social Care.
(b) Fiona Mulaisho highlighting public health concerns regarding air quality and pollution along the Kensal Rise Corridor (with specific reference to Chamberlain Road and Station Terrace) and seeking details on what action the Council was taking with other partners such as TfL in order to protect the health and wellbeing of local residents in the area. Councillor Krupa Sheth, responding to the deputation as Lead Member for Environment, took the opportunity to highlight the work being undertaken by the Council to monitor and tackle air quality with specific reference to the promotion of sustainable transport initiatives, introduction of a diesel surcharge, increase in electric vehicle charging points and work with TfL to encourage the roll-out of electric buses and to introduce an anti-idling policy.
The Mayor advised that, in accordance with Standing Order 32, he had received requests for two deputations. The first had been received from Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, and related to the motion submitted for consideration later during the meeting on health services in Brent and the proposals to reduce the opening hours at the Urgent Care Centre, Central Middlesex Hospital. The second deputation had been received from Ms Fiona Mulaisho who had requested to speak about public health concerns regarding pollution.
The Mayor welcomed Dawn Butler MP to the meeting and invited her to introduce the deputation. Ms Butler began by paying her own tribute to the two Councillors who had been commemorated earlier in the meeting and particularly remembered Pat Harrison as a formidable campaigner. She introduced her deputation on the future of healthcare services in Brent, noting that it was the first time a sitting MP had addressed Full Council.
Ms Butler spoke about the strains on local healthcare services as a result of sustained cuts since 2010, including the closure of the A&E facility at the Central Middlesex hospital in 2014. She noted that the loss of the Sickle Cell Unit from Central Middlesex to Northwick Park Hospital had also affected many people in the Borough suffering from the disease, given the increased distance they needed to travel for treatment. Ms Butler continued that the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) was now proposing to reduce the opening hours of the Urgent Care Centre located at Central Middlesex Hospital between the hours of midnight and 8am, with the nearest alternative overnight facility being over an hour away. Highlighting strong concerns about the proposal, she felt there was a need for a full public consultation and for the CCG to be held to account in relation to the long-term strategy behind the reduction in resources.
The Mayor thanked Ms Butler for her comments and then invited Councillor Farah, as Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care to respond to the deputation.
Councillor Farah, took the opportunity to thank Ms Butler for her deputation highlighting his shared concerns about the continued reduction in local health services and important need to protect the NHS as one of the nations and Labours proudest achievements. In concluding, Councillor Farah pledged the ongoing support of the Council’s Cabinet in campaigning to protect local health services for all residents.
The Mayor thanked Councillor Farah for his response and then moved on to invite Fiona Mulaisho to present the second deputation.
Ms Mulaisho introduced herself as a Kensal Rise resident and former Chair of Clean Air for Brent and went on to highlight a number of concerns regarding air pollution, particularly in Kensal Rise, where she felt traffic volumes were exacerbating the problem. Ms Mulaisho advised that Chamberlayne Road was one of the worst polluted streets in London and Ark Franklin Primary Academy, a school on Chamberlayne Road, was named as one of the 50 worst polluted schools in London, according to the Mayor of London’s Air Quality Audit. Concerns were also raised regarding the significant number of deaths in London every year related to air pollution and poor air quality. Ms Mulaisho went on to inform Members that in Kensal Rise, nitrogen dioxide was found to critically exceed safe EU limits, particularly in Station Terrace, used exclusively for buses, where it was three times the legal limit and therefore exposing residents and passengers to dangerous levels of pollution. She felt that the main cause of the problem were the large number of diesel fuelled buses travelling through Kensal Rise, with more proposed as part of the Kensal Corridor Improvement Scheme. Ms Mulaisho noted that residents were very concerned and urged Members to take into consideration the health and wellbeing of residents, particularly children.
The Mayor thanked Ms Mulaisho for her comments and then invited Councillor Krupa Sheth, as Cabinet Member for Environment, to respond.
Councillor Krupa Sheth began by highlighting that air quality was a priority for the Council. Being aware of the issues in Kensal Rise and Queens Park, she advised that the Council was consulting on a scheme to reduce bus movement and congestion by promoting sustainable modes of travel such as walking and cycling and making public transport more accessible as well as including significant green areas to absorb pollutants. Councillor Krupa Sheth confirmed that local residents and businesses were working together with the Council to move the scheme forward and she emphasised the Council’s commitment to improving air quality for children and young people. She outlined the monitoring that was in place at Ark Franklin school and other measures implemented to reduce pollution in the Borough such as the introduction of diesel surcharges, increased electric vehicle charging points and collaboration with schools to promote sustainable travel. In terms of other initiatives and with specific reference to bus vehicle pollution, Councillor Krupa Sheth concluded by advising that the Council was continuing to lobby TfL for the introduction of additional electric buses locally and in the meantime continued to issue fixed penalty fines, as part of an anti-idling policy, where buses were left idling at bus stands.
The Mayor thanked Councillor Krupa Sheth for her response and advised that this now concluded the item. Before moving on, he took the opportunity to thank Ms Butler and Ms Mulaisho for attending the meeting in order to present their deputations.